FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Kentucky is one of the states that has announced a settlement with four pharmaceutical firms in the opioid pandemic and will receive $460 million in compensation over 18 years.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron made the announcement during a Capitol press conference on Wednesday.
This is part of a nationwide $26 billion deal that calls for Johnson & Johnson to pay up to $5 billion, distributors AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal will pay $6.4 billion each, and McKesson another $7.9 billion.
“There is hardly a family in the commonwealth that has been immune to the scourge of opioids,” Cameron said. “We have lost thousands of fellow Kentuckians, and seen families and children torn apart by the grips of addiction. Today’s announcement is for each one of them.”
He explained what comes next. “Our office now has 30 days to review the agreement. Rest assured that we will be doing our due diligence to make sure the terms are right for the commonwealth. But we are very optimistic that the settlement will go forward and the commonwealth the maximum payment of more than $460 million, because all of our local governments are aboard.”
Cameron said a substantial majority of the money will go to opioid treatment and prevention, following the passage of House Bill 427 by the General Assembly earlier this year. It created a Kentucky Opioid Advisory Commission, as well as an opioid abatement trust fund.
The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Danny Bentley R-Russell, was on hand for the announcement, and called it a historic day in Kentucky. “I’m from eastern Kentucky, and this means a lot to me. It is one I’m proud to share with friends and stakeholders throughout the commonwealth. This day is exactly why I, along with the General Assembly, and Attorney General Cameron’s office, dedicated so much time and effort.”
Bentley noted that as a pharmacist, he has seen first-hand the effects of opioid abuse. “It is an epidemic that has plagued our families, friends, neighbors, and communities, for far too long. I look forward to putting this settlement to work for all of those who have suffered, and for all Kentucky.”
Cameron added, “You have my word that if this settlement, for some reason, does not come to fruition, that I will haul these companies into circuit courts all across the commonwealth to make sure that they answer for their actions. Justice will ultimately be served.”